To be clear, Joe Giglio believes Alabama’ Tua Tagovailoa is a good quarterback.
He just isn’t willing to buy the mountains of hype that come with Nick Saban’s sophomore quarterback.
Somewhere in the thousands of tweets about No. 1 Alabama’s 29-0 win over then-No. 3 LSU, there was Giglio’s tweet. Granted, it was hard to miss with all the tweets about the disheartened LSU girl, but people saw it. And boy, did they react.
“Tua Tagovailoa is overrated,” Giglio tweeted. “Tim Tebow with a slightly better arm, and nothing more than a product of all the talent around him at Alabama.”
College football fans took exception.
“Mostly, it is people telling me I have no idea what I am talking about,” Giglio told AL.com this week. “Some of it has been really negative. I’ve gotten some email and direct messages, which have kind of been inappropriate. It happens once in a while. Most of it is just Twitter fun.
“I got a bunch of memes or pictures sent to me of the LSU fan that became famous in the crowd, like her looking at me like I’m crazy. There was a bunch of that.
“There were a lot of people liking and re-tweeting responses about how dumb I was. It was a bigger reaction than I thought.”
Giglio hosts a radio show in Philadelphia and writes part-time for NJ.com. College football isn’t the center of his universe, but the NFL is a big part of it.
He watched Tagovailoa lead the Alabama rally against Georgia in last season’s CFP title game and has watched on and off as the Tide has steamrolled its opponents this year.
In fact, he said he first made the Tebow reference during last year’s championship game.
“I think he looks like him,” Giglio said of Tagovailoa. “I think he is a better quarterback and a better thrower. But, he’s left-handed, his size, his ability to run, the way he throws the ball. I think he has a long motion like Tebow did. I think he locks in on a receiver. I kind of saw Tebow in the national title game (against Georgia).”
A pass to Henry Ruggs on Saturday against LSU confirmed his belief, Giglio said.
The Tebow reference is shocking to many because of Tagovailoa’s stats and his accuracy. The Alabama quarterback has thrown for more than 2,300 yards and 27 touchdowns and just the one interception while completing 68 percent of his passes.
However, in his sophomore year, Tebow threw for more than 3,200 yards and 32 touchdowns with just six interceptions while completing 67 percent of his throws.
“Yeah, I think this kid is a good college quarterback, but I think he is overrated,” Giglio said. “I think most of it is he has a ridiculous amount of talent around him.
“CBS put up the graphic that Nick Saban’s Alabama teams have had a player drafted in the first round at every position except quarterback. The assumption in the conversation is that Tua would be that guy in a couple of years. I just started thinking about all the talent they have there, and they have finally started throwing the football and a wide-open offense.
“I think he’s good. I think he gets a lot of help from a great team and athletes around him.”
When asked why Jalen Hurts hasn’t performed with similar stats if it is because of talent around him, Giglio said Hurts “isn’t a quarterback.”
It’s not that Giglio thinks Tagovailoa will go undrafted. He just tempers the expectations.
“I don’t see the arm. I don’t see the wind up. He doesn’t look like an NFL quarterback to me,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he is a first-round pick. He’s going to end have an amazing college career. Tebow was a first-round pick, and he’s better than Tebow, but Tebow was a first-round pick.
“Based on what I’ve seen, unless he improves a lot, I’d be surprised if he dominates on Sundays like he does on Saturdays.”
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.